Four teams remain in the hunt for the 2015 college basketball national championship, but two stand out as the heavy favorites to meet in the title game. While Wisconsin and Michigan State will compete in the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament, the betting odds favor a finals matchup between Kentucky and Duke.
Entering March Madness as the No.1 overall seed, Kentucky is now the odds-on favorite to win the title, according to Bovada.lv. Their championship odds are -150, following a scare in their Elite Eight game against Notre Dame. The Wildcats trailed for most of the second half, and they didn’t take the lead for good until two free throws by Andrew Harrison gave them a two-point lead with six seconds remaining.
Duke is favored to meet Kentucky in the finals, having been given +300 championship odds. The Blue Devils had even less trouble making the Final Four than the Wildcats did. The Blue Devils’ six-point victory over Utah in the Sweet 16 has been their most challenging contest in March Madness. Their three other NCAA Tournament games have all been decided by 14 points or more.
Wisconsin has had an impressive run to the Final Four, defeating both North Carolina and Arizona in their last two games. The Badgers’ betting odds aren’t much worse than Duke’s, having been given +400 odds to win it all. But they are decided underdogs against Kentucky, and their Final Four matchup could be much more difficult than their potential national championship matchup.
As the only Final Four team that isn’t a No.1 seed, Michigan State is a longshot to win the title with +800 odds. While six teams in the East region were seeded higher than the Spartans, their run to the Final Four isn’t that much of a surprise. They entered the tournament as one of the favorites in their region, and Tom Izzo’s team seems to always be in the hunt for the national championship. Michigan State has now reached the Final Four in three of the last seven years.
The odds of Kentucky meeting Duke in the NCAA Championship have been set at -150. Kentucky vs. Michigan State and Wisconsin vs. Duke are the second-most likely matchups, tied with +300 odds. A Wisconsin vs. Michigan State final is the least likely outcome of Saturday’s Final Four games, having been given +700 odds. The fractional odds to win the national championship have Kentucky at 2/3 favorites, followed by Duke at 3/1. Wisconsin is at 4/1 odds, while Michigan State is an 8/1 favorite. Kentucky vs. Duke is 10/11, followed by Kentucky vs. Michigan State at 3/1, then Wisconsin vs. Duke at 3/1, and 7/1 for Wisconsin vs. Michigan State.
A Kentucky-Duke final would pit the likely No.1 pick in the NBA Draft against the only team to go 39-0 in a season. Kentucky last faced Michigan State in 2013, and Duke beat Wisconsin by 10 points in December. Wisconsin defeated Michigan State twice this season, most recently in the Big Ten Championship Game.